June 16, 2020

Harris to Trump: Unilateral Annexation Would Put Peace Further From Reach

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump opposing the potential unilateral annexation of the West Bank. The Government of Israel could move to annex parts of the West Bank as soon as July 1, 2020. Harris stated that unilateral moves by either party, like annexation, harm prospects for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that unilateral annexation puts Israel’s security at risk.

“While the prospects for a two-state solution in the near-term appear dim, I believe that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is possible only through direct negotiations and an agreement that results in two states for two peoples. Support for a two-state solution has been the longstanding, bipartisan policy of the United States and it remains in the interest of both Israel and the Palestinians. As the United States has repeatedly made clear, unilateral moves by either party, such as annexation, put a negotiated peace further out of reach. Both Israel and the Palestinians must avoid unilateral moves in order to preserve prospects for an eventual peace,” said Senator Harris.

Harris continued, “In recent months, your Administration appears to have given a green light to unilateral annexation, despite the risks to peace and Israel’s security and democracy. This is a dangerous abandonment of decades of U.S. policy—and the historic role of both Democratic and Republican presidents in particular—in helping bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table to do the hard work of making peace.”

A full copy of the letter can be found HERE and below.

June 16, 2020

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Mr. President:

I write to express my grave concern that the Government of Israel, aided by your Administration, will seek to annex parts of the West Bank as soon as July 1, 2020. Unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank could permanently impede the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, I oppose any such move.

While the prospects for a two-state solution in the near-term appear dim, I believe that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is possible only through direct negotiations and an agreement that results in two states for two peoples. Support for a two-state solution has been the longstanding, bipartisan policy of the United States and it remains in the interest of both Israel and the Palestinians. As the United States has repeatedly made clear, unilateral moves by either party, such as annexation, put a negotiated peace further out of reach. Both Israel and the Palestinians must avoid unilateral moves in order to preserve prospects for an eventual peace. 

Moreover, unilateral annexation poses serious risks for Israel, including for its security. My support for Israel’s security and the ten-year $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is unwavering. In light of this support, I am deeply concerned by the warnings of some of Israel’s most prominent former defense and intelligence leaders regarding annexation, which they believe could result in serious conflict, the further breakdown of security cooperation with Palestinian security forces, and the disruption of peaceful relations between Israel and her neighbors, Jordan and Egypt.

By impeding prospects for two states for two peoples, unilateral annexation would make Israel’s future as both a Jewish and democratic state uncertain. Further, annexation undermines the rights, dignity, and aspirations for statehood of the Palestinian people. Therefore, unilateral annexation not only risks Israel’s security, but would also call into question this Israeli Government’s commitment to shared values of democracy and self-determination.

In recent months, your Administration appears to have given a green light to unilateral annexation, despite the risks to peace and Israel’s security and democracy. This is a dangerous abandonment of decades of U.S. policy—and the historic role of both Democratic and Republican presidents in particular—in helping bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table to do the hard work of making peace.

The bonds between the United States, California, and Israel are unbreakable. Preventing annexation and other unilateral moves by either party is critical to our mutual interest in Israel’s security and long-term prospects for a just and lasting peace.

Sincerely, 

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